Moments

Don’t forget

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The story is told about an elderly husband who told his wife: “Get me ice cream from the refrigerator, please.” And he warned her not to be forgetful. True enough, the wife came back bringing him a hot dog instead. Whereupon the husband said: “See, I told you. You are really forgetful already! You forgot the catsup!”

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In today’s Gospel (Lk. 16, 1-13), Jesus reminds us that we are all mere stewards of our earthly possessions. As we journey on, how many of us have forgotten that we are accountable for these possessions, including our talents and our very lives, to God? Please remember that our lives, and everything and everyone in our lives, are just lent to us.

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There is no such thing as being the sole and permanent owner. The problem with some people is that they forget that life is all about stewardship. When greed sets in, the hoarding begins and the sharing ends. When greed sets in, worries and fears abound, and faith and trust are set aside, if not altogether banished. Greed makes our vision narrow, and our mission shallow.

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I visited a patient in a hospital the other day who was not only sick but who also had anxiety attacks about money and money matters in the future. He is someone who has always been in control of everything and of everyone, and now he is helpless and “worthless,” he said. I suppose all of us will experience this sooner or later, but if we have faith, we know that help comes from the Lord, and that our worth comes not from our worldly possessions and achievements. Our true worth is not what we have, but who we are before God.

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Let go, and let God. The sooner we learn this lesson, the better. Blessed and peaceful are they who learn this early on. They will be spared from worldly illusions and from regrets and heartaches in the sunset years. Again, let us be reminded that we carry nothing with us when leave this world, except the love that we have shared.

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We are all debtors. We all need to repay our God. Unless and until we realize there is such a thing as “payback time,” then life will be all about I, me, and mine. May we have little or no regrets that we loved too little, too late.

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Fr. Cirilo “Loi” Ebisa, SVD, went back to his Creator at the age of 53 last Sept. 17. He would have turned 54 on Oct. 18. Here was a man who lived well, loved much, and laughed often. His entire priestly ministry was spent in difficult assignments, mostly in the SVD mountain missions of Abra, Cagayan, Ifugao, and Kalinga. Short was his life, but it was full, beautiful, and meaningful.

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Father Loi was ordained together with his younger brother, Fr. Bobby Ebisa, SVD, on Dec. 8, 1993. It was a day of great joy for their parents Crispulo and Lorenza, now both in their 80s. Since June this year Father Bobby had tended to his “Manong,” literally staying with him and making all the necessary arrangements for his medical needs and even for his funeral arrangements. Theirs is an inspiring tale of two brothers who supported and cared for each other till the very end. How many brothers can or will do just that?

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As was typical of Father Loi, who always gave happiness and laughter wherever he went, the last hours of his life were spent with joy and hope even when he was in great pain. He even smiled and gave the thumbs-up sign to members of his family and his SVD brother-priests who gathered around his deathbed. Here was a man who lived his courageous and lively faith. Till we meet again, Father Loi, in the resurrection. Pray for us, as we pray for you.

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At the funeral Mass for Father Loi last Sept. 20 at Christ the King Church, one of the concelebrants was Fr. Peter Michael, SVD, who turns 101 on Oct. 1. Whether 53 or 101 years old, what matters is that we live a life filled with meaning and love. Never mind if we don’t have possessions, fame, or awards, as long as in the end, when we finally close our eyes, we will make it to God’s embrace and to God’s very heart.

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May the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace, and may we the living live in peace! Lord, no more wars, no more violence, no more plunder in our land, please! Let us pray for peace especially in “far Zamboanga.” Let us not forget our suffering brothers and sisters there.

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A lot of our present problems regarding public funds would have been avoided if our politicians stuck to the principle of stewardship—i.e., they don’t own the people’s money, and they owe their office and position to the people who elected them. Accountability simply means the ability to count correctly and honestly.

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Bantay Matanda invites you to a lay forum on “How to Care for Alzheimer’s Patients” on Sept. 28, 9 a.m. to 12 noon, at Janssen Hall of Christ the King Seminary on E. Rodriguez Sr., Quezon City. Josephine de Asis is the featured speaker. For inquiries, please call 373-2261/998-2548/0917-4167849.

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A moment with the Lord:

Lord, help me to remember, help me not to forget, that life is short and that life is just lent. Amen.

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